Enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 on the base PS4 – Reader's Feature

Enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 on the base PS4 – Reader's Feature

A reader relates his experiences of playing Cyberpunk 2077 on an ordinary PS4 and why he thinks it’s a great game despite the issues.

Despite a shambolic launch, thousands of bugs, millions of pounds lost, and even the threat of being sued by their own investors, Cyberpunk 2077 somehow manages to conjure up an absorbing game buried deep in the controversy, even on the base PlayStation 4.

That might come to a surprise to the legions of players seeking refunds after buying it for the basic model. I’m as surprised as anyone, particularly after experiencing its grotesque state before the day one patch. A game that didn’t remotely look like the one that had been hyped, it appeared like it was about to cave in on itself and as it turned out often did, crashing multiple times. To say it looked like Grand Theft Auto 3 from 20 years ago was ridiculous though. At least that was playable.

Then the day one patch came. The policy of fixing games on the fly after release is one I hate, but the improvement was dramatic enough to ensure Night City wasn’t about to implode just by looking at it the wrong way.

The crashes stopped but many of the game’s bugs still remain; some of them quite comical, like when Panam Palmer sits on your knee during a car journey (long before she is actually supposed to sit on your knee) or when Johnny Silverhand urges V to keep up during a car chase, only for the vehicle V’s pursuing to be hilariously overturned on the road right in front of him, before it bounces Tenet-style back into position.

While it accidentally summons the spirit of some Christopher Nolan films, it purposefully channels them and the work at other times – the parade in Japantown with its giant holographic dragons and goldfish as you hunt down snipers is a standout moment. The work of other visionaries also shines through, like during the Braindance sequences, the daring heists, and the tense shootouts against the backdrop of those glorious neon towers.

However, the game can be badly paced at times and it’s not just the vast technical problems littered throughout the vast sci-fi world that prove annoying. The design choices are also chaotic and represent the best and worst of open world games. Cyberpunk 2077 throws far too much at the player at once, with a confusing and overloaded levelling up system. Some perks are useful but many you’ll just ignore.

Most of the items in the game are too expensive to buy before most players finish the main game, the stealth element is often unbalanced and the considerable side content is often headache-inducing. V is bombarded with phone calls and text messages with unwanted missions at a stage when players should be absorbing the game at their own pace and not being absorbed by the game itself. The result of this overblown approach is a hideously saturated and overwhelming game map which looks like an icon from a Ubisoft title took steroids and vomited all over a Virtual Boy game.

Despite these issues, I can’t stop playing it. The hacking system is beautifully handled and is one of the game’s strongest features, that keeps me coming back. It’s very satisfying to overheat a hapless enemy from a safe distance then finish them off with a hefty shotgun to the face. Tactics such as cycling through enemy surveillance to monitor how dangerous an area is and deciding which approach to use can be exhilarating, especially when your plan comes together effortlessly.

Some of the aforementioned side quests are absolute gems too: Raymond Chandler Evening, The Hunt, and Dream On can thrill and disturb, but like so many strong moments in the game they can be buried too deep and missed by time-poor players, when they should be front and centre.

If unnecessary features were scrapped this game could have been more refined and polished – more time for players to experience it at its best, and crucially more time for developers to finish it properly, without being reportedly forced to work six days a week. It’s conflicting to play a game so much that has been made with the corporate spirt that ironically exists in Night City.

But while Cyberpunk 2077’s barren streets sometimes resembles a hollowed out version of Back to the Future 2’s vision of the future – which was already a parody – the game can regularly produce the awe-inspiring atmosphere of Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, Total Recall and more, even on last generation consoles.

By reader David

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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